Mobile Homes Bill

Documents

| Mobile Homes Bill
| Explanatory Notes

For latest versions click here.

For progress on the Bill click here

Background

  • Mobile homes are residential owner occupied properties usually situated on private land which has been laid out as an estate (sites) and equipped with services and amenities to enable people to live in the homes.
  • There are approximately 2,000 such estates in England and about 85,000 homes housing about 160,000 people. The estate owner owns the pitch on which the home is stationed and the home owner pays rent to keep it there which also covers the upkeep of the site.
  • England’s park homes are concentrated in three regions of the country – the South West, South East and East of England – which between them account for more than three in every five park home sites in the country. Modern mobile homes can sell for up to £250,000 in the most expensive areas of the UK.
  • In law, mobile homes are defined as “caravans”, although they are commonly and more appealingly known as “park homes”.

Current legislation

  • The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 – requires sites to be licensed by the local authority which can impose conditions to ensure the health and safety of home owners.
  • The Caravan Sites Act 1968 – provides criminal sanctions against unlawful eviction, harassment and intimidation by site operators.
  • The Mobile Homes Act 1983 – gives the home owner security of tenure by setting out the limited circumstances in which the site owner can end an agreement. The Act also sets out certain implied terms into every agreement. It is clear from the experience of home owners that the Mobile Homes Act does not offer effective protection for home owners and that “rogue” or criminal site operators can prevent home owners from exercising their rights.
  • Implied terms are contractual terms which are implied by statute into the pitch agreement between a resident and a park owner which permits the resident to station his park home on the site and occupy it as a residence. These terms, implied by the Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (the 1983 Act), constitute the minimum rights and obligations that all residents of park homes in England have.

Problems with the sector

  • There are many park home sites that are properly managed and maintained by decent, honest and professional site owners who have regard to the welfare and rights of residents and the community.
  • The good work they do is however often masked by the unacceptable conduct of others. These site owners can cause misery to the community by not maintaining their sites properly, bullying residents and interfering unreasonably or unlawfully when residents exercise their lawful rights, such as when they want to sell their homes.
  • Some of these abusive practices were highlighted at the recent Communities and Local Government Select Committee hearings. These include:

    - Sale blocking - Unreasonable sale blocking by site operators who can force home owners to sell to them at a fraction of the home’s value.
    - Harassment and intimidation by operators which prevent home owners from exercising or enforcing their rights.
    - Outdated and inappropriate management practices and rules not being understood or applied.

  • Other problems affecting the sector are the ineffective licensing powers which prevent local authorities from enforcing against site operators who do not comply with licence conditions.
  • These are growing problems because some of the most criminal and unscrupulous operators are acquiring more sites. The Park Homes sector should have no place for these people.

Timeline and implementation

  • 1st Reading - 20 June 2012
  • 2nd Reading - 19 October 2012
  • Committee Stage - Autumn/Winter 2012
  • Report Stage
  • 3rd Reading
  • House of Lords
  • Royal Assent - Spring 2013

You can follow the Bill's progress at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/mobilehomes.html

Links to the Bill and relevant reports

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